Analogies are wonderful, because they help me make sense of what’s going on in my life. For the past few weeks, I’ve been living out the adventure trip of a lifetime. Earthquake relief, train trips through the Southern Alps, glacier hikes, mountain biking, hitchhiking, tramping, and jet boat rides…it has been awesome! But while I’ve had some of the most fun doing some of the craziest things in my entire life, I’ve noticed something: I’m lonely.
No matter where I go, which activities I do, or which hostel I stay at, I see the same thing. I see people traveling together. Couples on their honeymoon, or their anniversary. Groups of 2 or 3 young friends traveling together. Retired couples enjoying their retirement together. Boyfriends and girlfriends. Or the worst case scenario: huge tour groups! And then there’s me, all by myself. Now, lest you mistake this as an attempt to earn sympathy, let me remind you: I’m having the time of my life and I’m loving it!
But at the same time, I am sad. I’m sad because I have no one to share my experiences with.
Flying down the mountain bike path and stopping to catch a view of the lake…
Watching the sunset at the harbour in Greymouth…
Taking a scenic boat tour of the majestic Milford Sound…
So many thoughts bouncing around my brain. So much to express, and yet no one is there to listen.
This is nothing new. It’s the age-old dilemma of traveling alone. To be fair, I have met quite a few other people along the way who are traveling alone just like me. That’s been a major blessing, as I’ve had the delight of sharing some of my experiences with them. But all things considered, I’ve struggled to travel without a companion.
To make sense of what I was feeling, I’ve come up with an analogy. It’s like I’ve been eating a donut that’s full to the brim with Adventure, but sprinkled on the top with Loneliness. With every bite I’ve taken, I’ve tasted the awesomeness of adventure, but I simply cannot ignore the loneliness. I believe that life was meant to be lived together. I find there is considerably less joy in experiencing alone even the best of what life has to offer.
So I have made a decision: I will never eat a donut sprinkled with loneliness again. That is to say, I don’t intend to travel by myself anymore. But I fully intend to keep traveling in the future. And that means one of you, my friends, will be coming with me!
Question: when it comes to traveling, are you a lone ranger, or do you prefer to have a companion or two?